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USTA FL Friday Blog: U.S. Thriving at US Open; Roddick to Play Delray

August 30, 2013 09:00 AM
Thursday night was a first at the US Open where the top-ranked American player turned out to be the crowd underdog. After losing the first two sets to John Isner, entertaining Frenchman Gael Monfils got the crowd, which perhaps just wanted to see more tennis, behind him, with New Yorkers loudly chanting "Mon-fils! Mon-fils!" A rattled Isner dropped the next set before wrapping up the match.  "He's a fun-loving guy and an exciting guy to watch no matter where he is playing, but honestly, it was a little bit surprising," Isner said of the US Open fans. "I know the New York fans, they like to see long matches and fifth sets and whatnot, but it's not like there was no one cheering for me." Later Isner tweeted, "I miss the south. #godscountry."

Why didn't Riggs train if he wasn't tanking the match, and why do those graphics look like an Atari 2600? Oh, right, 1973.
The infamous Battle of the Sexes in 1973 between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King was fixed? Say it ain't so. 79-year-old Hal Shaw of Tampa says it is so, and the extensive reporting by ESPN makes a case for Riggs putting one over on everybody.

The year 2013 is a landmark in professional tennis between the WTA celebrating 40 years, the ATP Rankings celebrating 40 years with a star-studded affair at the US Open, and the ATP as a tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of their US Open parking lot press conference announcing they were wrestling control of the tour away from the ITF and the Men's Tennis Council. "We had signed commitments from eight of the Top 10 [no Jimmy Connors or Ivan Lendl] and I think 16 of the Top 20 at the time of the press conference...We got them to sign an agreement, but the funny thing was nobody had a pen. So they all had to sign the agreement in pencil."

Mats Wilander on the mike at the ATP's parking lot press conference in 1988, supported over his shoulder by Tim Mayotte's awesome hair
Pete Sampras has probably been watching the circus of scrutiny unfolding around Roger Federer this summer thinking, "I've been there." In the last couple weeks Federer has watched his ranking drop near the bottom of the Top 10, been accused of "panicking" by trying a larger-head racquet, and it's been announced he will never win another Grand Slam by ESPN's John McEnroe and other critics. Novak Djokovic remains a voice of perspective on Federer's side, saying, "It's normal to go up and down." The next test for Federer will likely be next week in Flushing where he is slated to meet Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.

First Andy Roddick retires, then he debuts as an on-air personality on the Fox network's SportsCenter rival Fox Sports Live, and now he's a "senior." It was announced that Roddick will make his debut in 2014 on the ATP Champions Tour at Delray Beach in February, where the likes of John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Pat Cash and the rest of the senior set have squared off in the past at the newly-named Delray Beach Open by The Venetian Las Vegas.

Lots of Red, White, Blue Into 1st Weekend at US Open

Serena-thumb-Wimbly.jpgAs play kicks off this morning in Flushing Meadows, six U.S. men and four U.S. women remain alive at the US Open.

Yesterday John Isner and Jack Sock advanced into the third round, while today fellow Americans Tim Smyczek, Rajeev Ram, qualifier Donald Young and Denis Kudla will attempt to join them.

On the women's side world No. 1 Serena Williams, Alison Riske and Christina McHale remain alive, along with Jamie Hampton and Sloane Stephens who will face each other today.

Hampton is seeded for the first time at a Slam, and trails Stephens 1-2 in their head-to-head meetings. Stephens won their last meeting 6-3, 6-3 at Wimbledon.

"It's always tough playing obviously another American," Stephens said. "Jamie is a good friend. Obviously it will be a good match. Playing at the US Open, it's a pretty big deal. I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited. I think it will be good."

The Stephens-Hampton winner will likely meet Serena Williams in the fourth round.

TV_graphicTennis on TV This Weekend

11am-7pm -- US Open, Tennis Channel
1-11pm -- US Open, ESPN2

11-6pm -- US Open, CBS/CBS Sports Network
7-11pm -- US Open, Tennis Channel

11-6pm -- US Open, CBS/CBS Sports Network
7-11pm -- US Open, Tennis Channel
The USTA Florida Friday blog is written by USTA Florida Communications Coordinator Rick Vach, former publications editor for the ATP World Tour and former editor/publisher of International Tennis and Play Tennis Florida magazine. Got feedback, want a USTA or tennis-related question answered in the blog, or want to express your opinion? E-mail HERE.





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